“We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” might be my favorite title of any PKD story.
Douglas Quail dreams of an exciting trip to Mars, but since he can’t afford it on his Earth salary he settles for the next best thing, a session at Rekall, Incorporated which promises to implant a memory of a visit to Mars indistinguishable from the actual experience. During the procedure we find out he’s already been to Mars as an undercover agent after which his memory was wiped. Once aware of the truth he has to deal with the Interplan officers who want him dead.
Anyone who has seen Total Recall knows the premise. The Schwarzenegger movie, another of Dick’s best-known adaptations, heads off in a different direction from the telegraphed ending of the short story. I understand the interest in an updated film that differs from the Paul Verhoeven 90s time capsule, but watching the 2012 remake starring Colin Ferrell is a boring chore.
Again (as he did in The Penultimate Truth) Dick makes use of the real-life address of his literary agent at 580 Fifth Avenue in New York, this time as the main barracks of Interplan.
Cast of characters
- Douglas Quail – our protagonist
- Kristen Quail – Douglas’s wife
- McClane – Rekall, Inc. supervisor
- Lowe – Rekall, Inc. technician